Let fear not win – By Eleni Mavrou, AKEL Political Bureau member
28 November 2021, “Haravgi” newspaper
For almost two years now, we have been living in fear: fear of the pandemic (a word unknown to the authorities), of vaccines, of the next wave, of our jobs, of the health and lives of the people we love…
In some cases, science provides answers that should reassure us. Vaccines have been part of our lives for over two hundred years. It is how smallpox, diphtheria, measles, polio were all treated…Besides, after more than four billion vaccinations worldwide for coronavirus, this fear is not justified.
In some other cases, the responsibility falls on each of us: the need to take basic precautionary measures, to shield the most vulnerable, to protect those most at risk, but also to protect the whole of society. And above all by understanding that every person who is vaccinated adds a little stone to the wall of immunity.
In some other cases, however, the responsibility lies with the states, those who govern and make the decisions. In many cases, as if the fact that public health systems have been allowed to collapse for the sake of profit isn’t enough, decisions are being taken to serve political and economic expediencies, which heighten anxiety and increase fear, but also the doubt about science’s ability to deal with this enemy.
How different would things be if, for example, the necessary measures were taken in good time to prepare public hospitals for the expected waves of the pandemic? But how could their ideological obsessions permit them to admit the need to provide support to the public health system?
Neither have the measures announced this week convinced them either. Some of the measures are evidently contradictory and others favour vested interests and ideological concepts. Instead of trying to persuade people to get vaccinated, the government has taken the decision, for example, that only those who have been vaccinated can move freely. And then we are being accessed of being possessed by oppositionist zeal!
However, citizens who have sacrificed their jobs and many of their rights and freedoms for almost two years now in the collective effort to combat the pandemic deserve more respect.
The new mutation that has entered our lives, whether it lasts or not, confirms the long-standing warnings issued by the World Health Organisation that we must now learn to live with pandemics. Wherever they may occur, we live in an interconnected and fragile world where no one can feel invulnerable. I am not sure that the instant decision to exclude African countries from the rest of the world will work. It would be far more effective for the international community if it were to stand in solidarity with these countries, which have tragically low vaccination rates, rather than insisting on exclusive patents and production and distribution networks.
We should put fear behind us. Let us stand in solidarity with each other, especially those who need our support the most. Let us demand respect and policies with a humanitarian approach from those in power. Let us continue to fight the invisible enemy with the weapons that science has given us. Without fear.